A Review of the Anchor Platform and/or My Continued Dabbling in Podcasting, As Well As A Few Other Words

[PHOTO NOTE: Anchor. Heh heh.]

So, I went a little nuts and I decided to try and do some podcasting. I mucked around with it for a bit and then forgot about it for a while as I concentrated on trying to make my writing goal over this past year. I mean, I’m a writer, not a podcaster. At least, that’s not how I saw myself.

It was a few months ago, however, that a funny thing happened. I was at my school district substituting for another teacher’s class. These were middle school students, kids that I hadn’t run into at that point. I was in the middle of class, keeping an eye on what everyone was doing, and one of the kids (I forget which one) asked me, “Don’t you have a podcast?”

They had Googled and searched me, obviously. One of the advantages of having Jason Liegois as a name is that it happens to be pretty Google friendly. If you type “Jason Liegois” into Google, the first three pages of results have to do with either me or my wife there, so that’s a good SEO return, I guess.

Not that I’m worried about what I post either on the podcast or on my blog. All of that is for most ages, at least, and pretty mild as far as material goes. Now, some of the items I write in my books is for an adult audience. When any of my students ask about the book I’ve published, I don’t ever encourage kids to read my work. I don’t promote my paid work with them, but I do acknowledge that I’ve written things. They can read anything on this blog or on that podcast.

The more that I’ve blogged on WordPress, the more that I’ve gotten comfortable with the platform and writing on it. Right now, it meets my needs, and if I ever got the idea to see if I could make any revenue from this site, there is the possibility of doing that. For now, I think that it is where I want to make my home online.

As it turns out, WordPress has its own platform for podcasting called Anchor. I have been using it to put together my podcasts since I got started. I’m going to take this quick opportunity to give a quick review of the platform. In short, Anchor is a good platform for someone who hasn’t had much of an experience with audio recording or podcasting, like myself.

Anchor is included in the WordPress package. By that, I mean that you are offered a chance to get set up on an Anchor account if you are on WordPress. Since Anchor is technically a division of Spotify, it allows you to post your podcast over on that platform as well. (I’m guessing that is how my student’s found out about my audio experiments.)

What the platform allows is that it can convert your WordPress blogs into immediate podcasts. What happens is that it posts those blog posts to Anchor and allows you to convert them immediately into podcasts. It gives you the option of automatically converting them into podcasts using an automated narrator, or it allows you to use the text as a basis for you to use as a script for the podcast. Obviously, you can add commentary or new material to it, or whatever. Later, when you are done with the process, it allows you to implant a link to the podcast onto the original blog, which is a pretty sweet feature.

The editing software is straightforward and to the point. It allows me to edit out all of the breaths I take, the stupid “Ums” and “Ahs,” etc. You can add in intro and outro music, background music, whether that’s music from Spotify or just some generic stuff that works pretty well. You can assemble different pieces of sound in the sequence that you want to put together a coherent podcast.

While it allows you to record new audio, it also allows you to upload old audio as well. I had started a running review of Lord of the Rings and based it on my Facebook, but I thought it would be better suited to a podcast. I found out that it was possible to upload my old video clips as audio clips and put them together as full podcasts. I’m looking forward to producing those and future episodes so I don’t have to base those posts on Facebook. (I’m becoming more and more reluctant to base my activities solely on social media.)

Additionally, Anchor also offers a program called Riverside that allows you to do audio and video podcasts as well. I have not experimented much with this platform as of yet, but I am optimistic about its possibilities. (Anchor now allows you to post video podcasts as well).

In short, Anchor is a great platform for those who have little experience with producing podcasts and who are interested in dipping their toes into the medium. I would absolutely recommend it to newbie podcasters.

I’m Kicking Off My Podcast… Slowly

Remember when I talked about starting up my own podcast for this blog? Well, it’s already started.

Indicative of the kind of recording gear I don’t have on hand.
Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Well, I have now taken leave of my senses and decided to actually have a companion podcast to this blog. Here it is – however, you can also find it over on Spotify thanks to Anchor. Both of these links are now in the blog sidebar, as well as an RSS feed.

For now, I am keeping this pretty simple – it will be just me reading my posts more or less word for word. I have no idea about audio production or sound effects, etc., even though I did manage to work in radio for a couple of hot seconds back in my journalism days. I’m not going to do audio versions of my writing journals – I think that would get pretty dry and repetitive listening to over time. However, I do plan to redo the more content heavy blogs I’ve done recently and in the past, such as the A Writer’s Biography series and some of the other ones I’ve done over the past four years.

I’ll record a podcast about this blog now, but I will be busy attempting to record and upload some more content from years past onto the podcast. It will take me a while to do that, but at least I’ll have plenty of content to upload for a time. I hesitate to think that I might actually turn this into something that not only people could listen to, but could actually make money at… but that will be a bit in the future. For right now, I’ve just got my feet in the ocean and getting a feel for what the possibilities might be like.

Photo by Kellie Churchman on Pexels.com

Do You Want To Hear Me?

I’ve heard the phrase “A face for radio.” It’s a subtle insult, for sure. Whether my face fits it, now or back then years ago, I’m not one to say.

It’s a face. Whatever.

There are some times where I have experimented with video posts on my Facebook writing page. That included my (for now) stalled reaction series to the Lord of the Rings books. Unfortunately, I’m not able to host video clips directly on this WordPress site, and I’m wanting as little to do with Facebook as humanly possible due to the things that company is either promoting or otherwise letting happen.

As much as I love writing and plan to communicate that way, I’m thinking that there might be at least one third option. I keep hearing about a refurbished and souped-up version of the radio broadcasts my parents and grandparents used to listen to back in the early to mid-20th Century. You guessed it, it’s a podcast.

Although they’re not massive moneymakers like some forms of media, they are quite popular with listeners, and it might be another way for people to get into my blog. In addition, it would be a relatively easy thing to produce.

Spotify apparently is one of the leaders of podcast distribution. They have this program called Anchor that allows you to set up your own podcast and tie it to your WordPress blog. Well, after staring at the site for a month or two, I’ve decided that I’m going to get an Anchor site set up for this blog. It might take me a week or two to shake out all the bugs, but I plan to make it work and get it operational. It apparently allows me to turn old blogs into a podcast, so I want to try it out and see what happens.

Once I get things operational, I’ll post a story and link here. Wish me luck.